Deuteronomy 30:19; 2 Samuel 3:6-11; 21:1-9; Psalm 91:4; Mark 13:13
It took a woman—a faithful concubine, in fact—to teach David the honorable thing to do to end a famine and help heal a nation.
Hymnals, slips of paper in a box with one generic title per slip (such as mother, friend, employer, grandpa, sister, etc.)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Pass the box containing the slips of paper around the room; have each person take one slip. Ask each person who wants to participate to describe how each role demonstrates faithfulness. For example, “Dad: A dad can be faithful by always believing in his kids.”
- Open the hymnal to the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Read each stanza and discuss each particular “faithfulness” mentioned. Discuss how God’s example can help us to be more faithful.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- The story of Rizpah leads to many questions: Why were concubines allowed? Why did Saul’s family have to die for Saul’s sin? Why did God use a concubine of the enemy to teach David a lesson?
- Thought Questions
Read 2 Samuel 3:6-11. Rizpah’s circumstances didn’t give her much of a choice in life. Regardless of our own circumstances, what definite choices do we have?
- We can choose to forgive.
- We can choose to talk with God at any time, even if only silently.
- We can choose whose side we want to be on in this battle between good and evil.
- We can choose to be loving and kind to family, friends, and even strangers.
- We can choose to have hope, regardless of what life may throw at us.
Read 2 Samuel 21:1-6 and Deuteronomy 24:16. These two texts seem to contradict each other. Why was this allowed to happen?
- It shows that we aren’t judged individually but as a family, a church, a nation.
- David was looking for an excuse to destroy future enemies.
- Saul’s sins had to be punished, and his family suffered for his deeds.
- Judgment is expected when the king is not a follower of God.
- God wanted to teach us that the consequences of our actions affect not just us but others as well.
Read 2 Samuel 21:1-9, 10. What confusing issues does this story raise? What does Rizpah’s story tell us about God?
- It is hard to understand why God required others to die because of Saul’s sin.
- Why couldn’t God just perform a miracle and end the famine?
- Does God need people to die in order to be appeased?
- Knowing what we do about God, do we just need to trust when we read this story?
- We need to be constantly concerned about how the actions of our family members might affect us.
Read 2 Samuel 21:10-14. What lesson does Rizpah teach us, and what beautiful events developed as a result of her faithfulness?
- Her actions teach true love and devotion to family.
- Her actions touched the heart of an angry king.
- Her actions brought a proper burial for Saul’s family.
- Her actions brought an end to the famine.
- Her actions began the healing between warring tribes.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
- Option 1: Share stories of women you know whose faithfulness has made a difference in their families, their neighborhoods, their workplaces, or their churches.
- Option 2: Discuss the power of a church’s influence in a community. Is your church seen as a positive influence? Brainstorm ways in which you can become a powerful influence for good, and share your ideas with your pastor.
- Option 3: Rizpah was a concubine, and yet her influence helped heal a nation. Do you have a hard time accepting that God could use her? Why didn’t God choose some other person or means? Discuss.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Contemplate Rizpah’s faithfulness to her family—even after they were dead. How faithful do you think you are to your family members who are living? What about your faithfulness in honoring those who have died? Ask God to show you ways to be more faithful through support, acceptance, and service to those you love.
- After hearing of Rizpah’s faithfulness, David does the right thing and orders a proper burial for Saul’s family. Think about it: Is there someone in your past with whom you may have dealt harshly or who God is asking you to contact to make things right? Begin today.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Exodus 32; 1 Kings 13:1-34; Daniel 5:13-17; Luke 16:31; John 15:24; 2 Timothy 4:3